Page Updated:- Saturday, 09 March, 2019.


Earliest 1901-

(Name from)

Ye Olde Yew Tree

Open 2019+

32 Westbere Lane


01227 710501

Ye Olde Yew Tree 1900

Above postcard, circa 1900, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Old Yew Tree

Above postcard, date unknown, kindly sent by Mark Jennings.

Ye Olde Yew Tree 1912

Above postcard, circa 1912, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Olde Yew Tree 1923

Above photo circa 1923, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Olde Yew Tree 1948

Above postcard, circa 1948, kindly sent by Rory Kehoe.

Ye Old Yew Tree 2007

Above photo 2007 by Nick Smith Creative Commons Licence.

Yew Tree 2015

Above photo 2015.

Ye Olde Yew Tree sign 1987Ye Olde Yew Tree sign 1991

Above sign left 1987. Sign right, July 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

Ye Olde Yew Tree sign 2014Yew Tree sign 2015

Above sign left 2014, sign right 2015.

Yew Tree inside 2017

Above photo kindly taken and sent by Steve Glover, September 2017.

Yew Tree back 2017

Above photo kindly taken and sent by Steve Glover, September 2017.

Yew Tree inside 2017

Above photo kindly taken and sent by Steve Glover, September 2017.

Yew Tree bar 2017

Above photo kindly taken and sent by Steve Glover, September 2017.


The "Yew Tree Inn" proudly claims to be five hundred years old, but has been a public house for but a fraction of that time. It was built as a hall-house, now without its service rooms, and was a private dwelling a century ago when Westbere, according to directories of the time, appears to have had no pubs at all.

According to Wikipedia, the Inn was built in 1348 and it is one of the oldest pubs in Kent. Queen Anne and the Archbishop of Canterbury are reputed to have stayed here, and Dick Turpin evaded capture from the law hiding out here. The building was used as a hospital to treat wounded soldiers during the civil war and supposedly it has two ghosts. The interior is heavily beamed and features a large inglenook fireplace.

Further research unearthed this passage "It is uncertain precisely when the "Yew Tree" became an in. The consensus of the second half of the 19th century record the various tenants as agricultural labourers and grocers who probably sold ale. It was not until 1901 that the premises were officially referred to as the "Yew Tree," a pub with a licensed victualler named Frank Carey. Only two years previously, the inn was the starting point for the old tradition of beating the bounds, Shelagh Wenhorn provides an interesting note from the observations of parish history Francis Heath.... "The next event which excites interest in the old, time-honoured custom of beating the bounds, a custom that has been much neglected in the past. October 4th 1899 at 10 a.m. witness the departure of those who assembled to take part in this important event from the "Old Yew Tree Inn," a well-known spot in the parish of Westbere where, on Sunday and other dry times, many a refreshing draught has been taken of its well-known Nut Brown Ale."" (Steve Glover tells me that Thatcher's Brewery used to do a Nut Brown Ale, so perhaps this was who supplied their beer in the early 1900s. However, Rory Kehoe disputes this fact and says there has never been a brewery of that name in Kent. However, Tomson & Wotton did brew a beer called Thatch Brown Ale and I think the Yew Tree was always supplied by Tomson and Wotton. The Tomson and Wotton connection is likely to be due to this. Or at least, it'll do till I get corrected! I recall being told in the 1970s (by licensee Alf Burke) that the Wotton family owned land and a large house in Westbere. Captain Bill Wotton (the last Managing Director of Tomson and Wotton) used to call in on his two aunts (the Misses Wotton) quite regularly and always paid the Yew Tree, Alf & Joyce Burke a visit too.)


From the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald. 23 March 1901. Price 1d.


Frank Carey, landlord of the “Old Ewe Tree,” Westbere, was summoned for keeping his house open during prohibited hours on the 4th inst. Mr E Wotton, Ramsgate, appeared for defendant, who pleaded guilty.

Corporal Charlton stated that at 10.25 on the night in question he visited the house and in the tap room saw three men, two of whom were drinking from glasses containing beer. He asked them if they knew the time, but they made no reply. Defendant then came in and witness asked him if he knew the time. He said he was very sorry but did not look at his watch. On the table were two glasses containing beer. Before witness entered the house he heard one of the men say he would have another quart, but he would look outside first to see who was about.

Cross-examined- There was no clock in the room.

Mr. Wotton, in mitigation of the offence, said that defendant received a postcard stating that he had been appointed an enumerator in connection with the census, and on the strength of that he said he would stand his customers in the bar half a gallon of beer. He declared that no beer was paid for after closing time though undoubtedly the men were drinking there.

Defendant had been a licence holder for five years and during that time had never been cautioned by the police.

The Bench fined defendant 40s. and costs 10s. 5d.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 05 February, 1938.


An application for a wine licence in respect of the "Yew Tree," Westbere, was granted at the annual licensing meeting of the St. Augustine's Division at Canterbury on Wednesday.

Mr. Stewart Daniel, making the application on behalf of Mr. Joseph B. Taylor, said that at the present time the "Yew-Tree" was only a beer house and had been such for a number of years. The house was reputed to be between 600 and 700 years old. Behind the house was a garden which was used for teas and other liquid refreshments during the summer, when there were many visitors to the village. Through a demand for something other than beer or minerals. Mr. Taylor had had to turn customers away. Sometimes when a party arrived one member wanted a glass of wine and because he could not get it the whole party went elsewhere.

"I am instructed," said Mr. Daniel, "that all ladies are not fond of beer, and the result is that the inhabitants of the village cannot sit in the garden at this house and give their wives wine if they desire it. In the old days before so much use was made of motor cars an old beer house might have been sufficient, but nowadays there was an influx of visitors who preferred something different from beer. At the moment there was a popular taste for sherry and Mr. Taylor was often asked for this by people who visited the village. The house had always been well conducted and Mr. Taylor was very popular. He (Mr. Daniel) understood there was a feeling in the village in favour of the granting of the application and the Parish Council was also in favour of it.

He had had a letter from the Rector of Westbere, (Father C. V. Reeves) in which he spoke of Mr. Taylor and his family in most glowing terms and showed himself to be in support of the application.

Mr. Taylor, who said he had been at the house for three years and that during the summer there were many visitors to the parish, supported the statement by Mr. Daniel as to the demand for wine and said that local residents were pleased to think he was making the application.

Mr. A. Auld. Brookland Cottage, Westbere, insurance agent, gave evidence as to the demand for wine.

Mr. William Seath, Kemp Hall Farm, Westbere, said that the "Yew Tree" was conducted as a licensed house should be, and Mr. Taylor was the best of landlords. There were many visitors to the village in the summer and they required a choice of wines and spirits. He was a member of the Parish Council and when this matter was mentioned the members were much in favour of the granting of the application.

The magistrates granted the application.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, 21 June, 1947.


Until recently when a fall of rock resulted in confinement to bed at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, 78-years-old Bill Merritt, of Hersden, and formerly of the "Yew Tree Inn," Westbere, was the oldest underground colliery worker in England.

On Thursday it was announced that Bill had been awarded the British Empire Medal on the recommendation of the Minister of Fuel and Power for “outstanding services to the coal industry.”

When the news was made public Bill, who used to work at Chislet Colliery, was propped up against a pile of pillows in Bell Ward of the Hospital. But he had had the news the day before in an official letter and when he began to show the notification around he was the hero of the hour.

Bill told a reporter during an interview "If I’d been up, you could have knocked me down with a feather. It's a very big honour for a pitman and of course, I'm tremendously pleased. Won't my pals at the Colliery be surprised!"

When Mr. Bill Merritt. B.E.M., leaves his bed in the Kent and Canterbury Hospital he will be the guest for a fortnight at the new Ramsgate luxury hotel, the Regency.


According to a village history pamphlet, the building was a grocery shop in the early part of the 19th century and the owner, Thomas Marsh, may have taken advantage of the Beerhouse Act of 1830 in order to obtain an on licence. Until the change of use in the mid-19th century, the building had been known as the "Palm Tree." Palm is an old Kentish dialect word for yew.

In 1834 the villagers met at the "Palm Tree" for a Bread & Cheese charity feast.

Renovations in 1982 saw the three bars opened up into one, and unfortunately the wooden panelling went out with the walls and also the character of the pub.

It is reported the licensee Alf Burke was no mean accordionist and occasionally entertained, with his encore always being to sing "the hole in the elephant's bottom."


Project 2014 has been started to try and identify all the pubs that are and have ever been open in Kent. I have just added this pub to that list but your help is definitely needed regarding it's history.

As the information is found or sent to me, including photographs, it will be shown here.

Thanks for your co-operation.



CAREY Frank 1901+ Whitstable Times

PRICE Marshall to July/1913 Whitstable Times

MILES Robert Bert July/1913+ Whitstable Times

DAVIES Joseph F 1923+

TAYLOR Joseph B 1935-38+

MERRITT Bill pre 1947

HARVEY George to 1962

BURKE Alf & Joyce 1962-82

ASHCROFT Ray & Grace 1984-87


Whitstable TimesWhitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald


If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-